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Crockpot Mac and Cheese

I’m absolutely thrilled to share my top-secret, family-favorite, irresistibly creamy crockpot mac and cheese recipe with you! This ooey-gooey mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food, and it couldn’t be easier to make thanks to the magic of the crockpot. Now you can come home to the mouthwatering aromas of cheesy bliss with just a few simple ingredients and minimal hands-on time.
I’m always looking for ways to get a home-cooked meal on the table quickly during busy weeknights. While stovetop mac and cheese is certainly delicious, it requires standing over a pot stirring constantly to prevent scorching. No thanks! With the crockpot, the gentle low heat allows the cheese sauce to slowly melt into the pasta, creating the creamiest, dreamiest mac and cheese you’ve ever tasted. Once you assemble this recipe in the morning, the crockpot does all the work for you. Talk about easy!
The secret to ultra-creamy crockpot mac and cheese is using a combination of milks – whole milk and evaporated milk provide a lush, silky texture and richness. The evaporated milk helps the sauce cling to each nibble of tender pasta. I also add a touch of flour and dry mustard which provides thickness and a little zing. Sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack give you the quintessential cheese flavor one craves in mac and cheese. You can even stir in mix-ins like cooked broccoli, crispy bacon, or juicy chicken for extra protein. The possibilities are endless!
If you’re worried about the pasta getting mushy, have no fear! Thanks to the gentle heat, the pasta cooks until just al dente so it retains that perfect chewy bite. This is not your traditionally overcooked crockpot cuisine. Trust me, this mac and cheese turns out perfectly creamy while the pasta remains intact.
This recipe has become a popular staple in my home. The kids devour heaping bowls of it, and my partner scrapes the crock clean! I love that I can prep it in the morning and have a hot, satisfying meal ready after a busy work day. The incredible aroma fills the entire house – everyone knows comfort food is on the menu.
So grab your crockpot and get ready to be amazed by how unbelievably simple it is to make the creamiest, dreamiest stovetop-quality mac and cheese from your slow cooker. Just wait until you dig into that first heavenly bite! Let me know if you have any other easy crockpot recipes you’d like me to try next. Now get cooking and enjoy!

Why make crockpot mac and cheese?
Using a slow cooker allows the cheese sauce to meld with the pasta, creating an ultra-creamy dish. It’s also hands-off cooking at its finest!

What kind of pasta works best?
I prefer elbow macaroni, but small shells or cavatappi work too. Stay away from long pastas like spaghetti which can clump.

How do you get a smooth sauce?
The secret is evaporated milk which helps create a silky texture. I also add a bit of flour and mustard for thickness.

What cheese is best?
I use a blend of extra-sharp cheddar and Monterey jack. The cheddar gives that classic flavor while the jack adds creaminess.

Can you customize it?
Absolutely! Try adding cooked broccoli, bacon, or chicken for extra protein. You can also use different cheese varieties.

Does the pasta get mushy?
Nope! The pasta cooks just until al dente thanks to the gentle heat of the crockpot.

Can this be made ahead of time?
Sure can! Just cook the pasta beforehand and store it separately from the cheese sauce. Mix together in the crockpot right before serving.

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni, cooked (about 3 cups)
  • 3 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Instructions :
  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Once boiling, enrich the water with a generous pinch of salt.
  3. Add the pasta and cook it until it reaches an al dente texture, which means it should be tender but still slightly firm to the bite.
  4. Drain the cooked pasta using a colander and keep it aside. Remember, the pasta will undergo further cooking in the slow cooker, so it’s crucial not to overcook it at this stage.
  5. Lightly coat the interior of your slow cooker with cooking spray. This layer acts as a non-stick agent, making both cooking and subsequent cleaning more manageable.
  6. Carefully move the drained pasta into the slow cooker.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, create a cheese blend by combining your selected cheeses.
  8. Sprinkle about one cup of this cheese blend over the pasta in the slow cooker. Gently mix to ensure even coating. This step is essential to prevent the pasta from clumping together.
  9. In a separate bowl, combine equal parts of whole milk and evaporated milk for a rich and creamy base.
  10. Add all-purpose flour to the milk mixture, which acts as a thickening agent.
  11. Incorporate mustard powder and garlic powder for added depth of flavor.
  12. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Whisk the mixture thoroughly until it is smooth, ensuring no flour lumps remain.
  14. Evenly pour the milk-flour mixture over the pasta and cheese in the slow cooker.
  15. Top it off with the remaining cheese, spreading it to cover the pasta completely.
  16. Refrain from stirring at this stage to allow layers to set during cooking.
  17. Cover the slow cooker with its lid.
  18. Set the appliance on a LOW heat setting and let the mac and cheese cook for approximately 3 hours. The dish is ready when the sauce has thickened, and the pasta has fully absorbed the liquid.
  19. After the cooking time is up, stir the mac and cheese thoroughly. This step helps blend all the ingredients, ensuring the cheese is completely melted and the sauce is uniformly creamy.
  20. Taste the mac and cheese, adjusting seasoning with additional salt and pepper as needed.
  21. Serve the mac and cheese hot, reveling in its creamy texture.
  22. This dish is ideal as a comforting standalone meal or as a satisfying side dish for gatherings.

Cooking Tips:

  • For extra decadence, stir in 1 cup shredded smoked gouda 10 minutes before finished cooking.
  • If the mac and cheese seems too thick once cooked, stir in a splash of milk to thin it out.
  • For added flavor, saute 1 chopped onion and 2 cloves minced garlic in butter and add to the cheese sauce.
  • If you’ll be transporting the dish, undercook the pasta by 2 minutes before adding to the slow cooker.
  • Shred the cheese yourself rather than buying pre-shredded cheese which has anti-caking agents added.
  • For a browner, crisper topping, broil the finished mac and cheese for 2-3 minutes. Keep a close eye to avoid burning.

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